Label news: Two recordings coming up of long-lost cello concerto

Label news: Two recordings coming up of long-lost cello concerto


norman lebrecht

April 09, 2017

The cellos concerto by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, unheard since its premiere in 1935, is about to appear on two new recordings.

Raphael Wallfisch tells us he recorded it last April in Berlin for CPO and is awaiting release.

Brinton Averil Smith, who gave the second public performance this weekend in Houston, is recording it for Naxos.

Lost no more, then.



    Regarding Wallfisch’s recording, further good news is that he has also recorded the Cello Concerto by Karl Weigl, who, like MCT, wrote a terrific Violin Concerto. (MCT actually wrote three!)

  • Brinton Smith says:

    Thanks Norman. This is great news for MCT and given that the piece is full of tempo changes and MCT didn’t give any mentronome indications, with no historical performance precedent, it should be fascinating to hear different takes on the piece. The next step is an available cello/piano reduction so that other cellists can learn the piece too. Our librarians at the Houston symphony have just spent months correcting literally hundreds of errors in the parts, so corrected orchestral parts should be available for any future performances.

    Just to clarify, the performances are this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Houston. If you come on Saturday you can meet all of MCT’s grandchildren! The piece was performed by Piatigorsky a few times in Europe after the NYP/Toscanini debut and once at a college seminar at Brown, but this will be its first time back on the professional stage in over 80 years. For those who might be curious, the remainder of our Naxos CD will be MCT’s free arrangements and transcriptions (many never before recorded):
    Mozart’s Don Giovanni: Serenade
    and Cherubino: Two Arias from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro
    Ravel Miroirs: No.4 Alborada del gracioso
    and Miroirs: No.5 La Vallée des Cloches
    Rossini Figaro Variations (in my ‘de-rangement’ from the violin version, rather than the standard cello version)
    Sea Murmurs (composed by MCT, transcribed Heifetz)

    Sea Murmurs BTW was Heifetz’s only encore at his last recital- his last notes on the professional stage. Heifetz held Mario in great esteem. I hope at least some will end up agreeing with me that his music deserves a second look. Cheers-

  • jonathan dunsby says:

    ‘The Prophets’, MCT’s second violin concerto (commissioned by Heifetz) is woefully underplayed. I look forward to hearing the cello concerto. Thanks for posting

  • Lawrence A. Johnson says:

    You can read Texas Classical Review’s preview article of this week’s Houston performances here.